Quilt of valor honors local veteran

ELKINS – A sacrifice made by a military veteran moved a Marlinton woman to create something special in his honor.

Jared Howell, who lives in Elkins and is an insurance agent for Mountaineer Insurance Services Inc. in Valley Bend, was recently presented with a quilt of valor handmade by Diana Beverage.

“I was stationed in Afghanistan in January 2008,” Howell said. “It was cold in the mountains and in February, everyone received handmade quilts from folks in the United States. We were not sure exactly where they were from. Our commanding officer made arrangements for us to receive them.”

Howell said they were outfitted with sleeping bags while in Afghanistan, but the quilts were much more comfortable and gave them a taste of home.

“In June, I left Afghanistan and left my quilt behind so someone else could use it and be warm through the winter,” Howell said. “I didn’t think much about the quilt again.”

In 2011, Howell began working at Mountaineer Insurance Services Inc. and was talking with one of his clients who quilt. He said in passing he told Beverage how much he appreciated the quilt that he had received when he was so far away from home. He said he told her how warm and homey the quilt made him feel.

“I never mentioned it again,” Howell said. “I was astonished when she made me this quilt and presented it to me. I never dreamed she would make one for me.”

Howell said Beverage got in contact with his wife and his boss, Jonathan B. Kyle, the president of Mountaineer Insurance Services Inc., to find out where he was stationed. Kyle said he found the story touching and wanted to make sure it was shared with others.

The quilt features red stars on a white background and red, white and blue stitching. It is called “Country Spirit” and was designed by Karen Dever. It comes from the March 2002 McCall’s Quilting Quick Quilts.

The inscription on back reads, “A young man once told me that while he was serving in Afghanistan he had received a Quilt of Valor. When I asked about the quilt he informed me that he had left it behind so the next soldier could enjoy it. That statement truly touched my heart. Although this quilt may not be the same pattern, I truly hope it has the same meaning. Thank you for all that you have done for our Country. God Bless You.”

Howell said he is going to hang the quilt in his office at Mountaineer Insurance Services Inc.

“This is quite a gift,” Howell said. “It is truly amazing. I was very surprised. It was genuine and given from the heart and I appreciate it.”

Howell served two appointments as an Army signal intelligence analyst in Afghanistan with the 3rd Special Forces Unit out of Fort Bragg.